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Scientists are developing nanoparticle vaccine effective against influenza virus

by TR Pakistan

American and Chinese scientists have developed a new double layered nanoparticle vaccine which shows strong potential for combating influenza viruses.

These findings were recently published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, from a research which was a collaborative study by Georgia State University, the Georgia Institute of Technology, Emory University and Henan Normal University, China.

Influenza is a contagious respiratory illness that infects the nose, throat and lungs and is a persistent risk to public health. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States reports the 2017-18 flu season was a high severity season causing widespread illness in 46 states with record-breaking levels of influenza-like illness and hospitalization rates.

Influenza has also hit Pakistan with full force this year. An increasing number of cases and flu-related fatalities have reported from across the country. The World Health Organization (WHO) and the National Institute of Health (NIH), are examining these cases and investigating the growing number of deaths, especially in Multan, which has been affected the most in comparison to other cities.

Read more: How Pakistan Turned Around Its Vaccination Program Using Technology

Made with peptides, this new double-layered nanoparticle vaccine has strong potential for fighting against influenza viruses and helping provide useful methods to develop universal influenza vaccines.

The vaccine mentioned in this study has been found to be effective in combating influenza viruses, as compared to the seasonal flu vaccines that must be updated every year predicting which symptoms will be common during the next flu season. Seasonal flu vaccines can be less effective if they are not matched against the commonly spread strains

Scientists used peptides to construct the nanoparticles as they are much smaller than proteins. The nanoparticles help to indicate biological signals of viruses and initiate risk signs that trigger immune responses.

The double-layered nanoparticle vaccine induced long-lasting and protective immunity which guarded mice against various influenza A virus exposures, in comparison to the mice that had been induced with a placebo and died within a week.

“The adaptive immune system includes B lymphocytes mediating antibody responses and T lymphocytes mediating cellular responses,” said Dr. Bao-Zhong Wang, senior author of the study and associate professor in the Institute for Biomedical Sciences at Georgia State.

“Our novel nanoparticles trigger immune responses of both immune branches. We have seen the synergistic role of the two branches in providing broad cross-protection against a wide range of diverse influenza virus challenges after vaccination with these layered peptide nanoparticles. No doubt, these findings will open a new vision for the development of an affordable universal influenza vaccine.”

American and Chinese researchers based their vaccine design on findings from previous studies. The researchers in future hope to administer the vaccine using a micro-needle patch. Their goal is to make a strong universal vaccine with a better delivery approach.

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